The job market is tough for young people these days. A lot of the entry-level jobs have gone overseas. The country is just now beginning to climb out of a bad recession. Many of our young folks will be graduating from high school this spring. This column is for them.
Listen up kids. This is Grandpa. Put down that cell phone for a minute or two and read some advice. Yeah, I know. What can you learn from some old geezer who doesn’t even know how to tweet? Tweet, schmeet. Let me explain. I spent 40 plus years in the business world. I have hired people, and fired people. Trust me on this one, gang.
Technology has made it easier than ever to find and keep a job suitable to your talents. It has also made it a whole lot easier to blow a good job chance, or lose the one you have.
First things first. The interview is important. Spend a little time beforehand learning something about the company and the job you are interviewing for. They probably have a certain way they want people to dress, behave, and perform on their jobs.
Google them. You can really impress the dude or dudette giving the interview if you know something about what they do and how they do it.
Be clean and neat and on time for the interview. Smile and make eye contact. Sure, you might be a little nervous – that’s to be expected. No big deal. I will tell you a little secret. A lot of times the interviewer is a little nervous too!
Turn off your cell phone and stick it in your purse or pocket. I said OFF, kids – not on vibrate. If I’m interviewing you and I notice you glancing down periodically to scope out your buds…you are cooked. My theory is that if you can’t stay untexted for the length of a half-hour interview, I am not going to trust you to give your undivided attention to the position I am looking to fill. Do you want a job, or do you want to spend most of your time playing thumb-doodle? If your answer is “IDK..”, you should seriously reexamine your life.
After the interview, be patient. They probably won’t make a decision right away, but will let you know in a few days. What do you think they are doing in the meantime? Fixing up a nice office for you? OMG, no, kid. They might have other people they want to talk to about this job – and they are probably doing a little checking on your references. WTF? Yes, kids. They might want to have a chat with any bosses you worked for before: how you did on the job, why you left, etc. I’ve had many an enlightening chat with the former employers of folks who wanted a job with me.
A new little wrinkle that might concern you: a lot of them are now looking you up on Facebook, just for the fun of it. This can be a real showstopper for you. Let me explain:
Does your Facebook profile list some of your favorite interests as: “Bud Lite, Miller Lite, Coors Lite, ha ha ha!” This is Facebunk. If I were a prospective employer looking at this, I’d be saying, “Not on MY time clock, dawg!” Don’t list all of your bad habits, no matter how sexy, tough, macho, clever or hilarious you think they are. If those really ARE your primary interests, your new boss will find out about them soon enough. Then you can try to explain why a high flyin’, loveable goofball cut-up like you deserves to be working for him or her.
Oh yeah, and kids – while you’re at it – apply the granny test to the pics on our Facebook page. If you’d be embarrassed to show them to grandma, grandpa, your pastor or other responsible, respectable folks – dump them. I would delete such pics as: high times with stoner friends, clothing optional parties, various hormonal and testosterone driven activities, mistreatment of animals, small children and other hijinks. More Facebunk. Keep these in your scrapbook. Perhaps when your own grandchildren come along many years from now, they will be enlightened enough to chuckle over them. Perhaps. Assuming you survived them.
Never announce your job interview plans, or preferred job choice to the world. Just like the forward pass in football, three things can happen – and two of them are bad.
A: Best case scenario – you get the job you want, your new employer checks your Facebook and is impressed by your high opinion of them.
B and C suck.
B: Ok, you get the job you want and thumb your Facebook nose at the other employers you interviewed with. These others see your FB entry, and start to wonder, “Hey, why is this guy/gal dissing us? On Facebook, no less!” You can guess where this puts you if you go looking for another job in the future. Computers have long memories. Data is forever.
C: Your announced favorite doesn’t hire you and the others start to wonder, “Hmmm…wonder why they didn’t hire that guy/gal…maybe we should take a closer peek at those references…”
But let’s say you’re now on the job and you resisted the temptation to exercise options B and C above. Here’s some advice on how to keep it.
Never, EVER, diss your place of employment or supervisor on Facebook. Jeez, grow up kids. Nobody really cares if you don’t get along with the Chief of the Burger Crew — except the Chief. If he or she finds out that you’ve made nasty comments on Facebook, OMG! – you are so busted, kid.
And in that same vein – never diss a job you left! “WHAT!” you say? “But that was a lousy job and they treated me like crap!” Maybe. (…or maybe you did a less than super-duper job…just sayin’). Why should you care if these yamheads see your insults? Listen, kid. Companies change, bosses change — YOU change. Maybe a year from now you will be looking for another job – with THEM! Remember that computer memory? Never burn your bridges behind you!
It’s a jungle out there, gang.